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Tropical Storm Ian Heading to…Iceland?

It’s not something you can necessarily say every day: a Tropical Storm may be heading to the remote north Atlantic country of…Iceland.

By this weekend, Iceland, a nation of a little over 300,000 mostly comprised of volcanic rock and straddling the Arctic Circle, could be seeing winds exceeding 70 miles-per-hour (MPH) and driving rains. It’s all thanks to Tropical Storm Ian, which is barreling its way through the Atlantic Ocean and could lash the country on Saturday and Sunday with unusually strong winds and rain.


The system is currently undergoing extratropical transitioning, meaning it is moving from a storm with a warm core to a cold core. That’s typical of systems rapidly moving into much colder waters, especially those riding the Gulf Stream current of the western Atlantic Ocean. It also essentially means that Ian won’t be a ‘true’ tropical storm, but somewhat of a hybrid between a regular area of low pressure and a tropical low, similar to Sandy in 2012, which of course devastated the East Coast.

Water temperatures in the waters of the north Atlantic are in the mid 50s, not nearly warm enough to support a fully tropical system (usually 80° or above is needed).

That said, big storms are no stranger to Iceland and the north Atlantic, although rarely do they have tropical origins. Polar lows are typically the cause for big weather in the country, home to the world’s northernmost capital city of a sovereign nation (Reykjavik).

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Keep an eye on Iceland this weekend as Ian approaches the island nation.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi

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